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How to Engage Stakeholders in your Sprint Reviews

August 18, 2022

This absence of stakeholders can be consequential to the product’s progress as a transparent collaboration between the team and stakeholders is paramount to constructing a successful product.

 



Here are five reasons your stakeholders are not participating in sprint reviews with remedies.

1. You might have scheduled Sprint Review at the wrong time

REASON: Apathetic scheduling is one of the primary reasons for the absence of stakeholders in sprint reviews. The stakeholders might have other essential engagements on the day of the sprint review. So even though they’re physically available in their schedule, their mind could be engrossed in other important work.

REMEDY: Effective communication between team and stakeholders while scheduling. If possible, the schedule of the sprint review should be set at mid-week instead of the last day of the week. In my experience, Friday’s Sprint Reviews had almost 50% of the stakeholders not turning up.

2. Your Sprint Review is just a demo

REASON: Another reason a stakeholder might skip your sprint review could be that you’re unable to grasp their interest. The team sometimes over-indulges and convert the Sprint Review as a demo. So, when it is presented just as a demo and all other stakeholders are just listening, it often gets hijacked by a one-sided in-depth discussion that might not interest all the stakeholders. 

REMEDY: The onus is on the Scrum Master to facilitate a smooth flow of communication that keeps all the stakeholders engaged. The review could be more immersive where stakeholders are asked to engage better. From my experience, When I was a Scrum Master, I used to give a gentle pause, nudge all the stakeholders, and invite them to open up their thoughts.

3. Not Exciting

REASON: Sometimes, stakeholders don’t deem the sprint review necessary. They are not likely to attend as they might know the discussion and decisions taken during the event.

REMEDY: Before the event, the Scrum teams must find ways to attract or pull your stakeholder’s interests. It’s best to park what is likely coming up in the next Sprint and include a word in your Sprint Review’s agenda. In my experience, It would also mean more active participation from the stakeholders as they will look forward to listening to what is coming up.

4. FLOW

REASON: The flow of the review can also disinterest the stakeholder. Stray discussion during the review can make the meeting tedious. Sometimes, inconsistent pace and rough transitions can also dissuade the stakeholders.

REMEDY: The Scrum Master should step in and help the scrum team set and maintain a swift pace of the event. It can be done with meticulous planning before the meeting, encouraging a smooth and effortless conversation between the team and stakeholders.

5. FEEDBACK

REASON: The primary purpose of the sprint review is to welcome feedback from the stakeholders, but often, the stakeholder might not get the opportunity to contribute to the conversation as the team naively obsess over their presentation. 

REMEDY: The team could plan a conversation break after every demonstration so that the stakeholder could keep up with the pace and developments of the product backlogs. In my experience, after every feature demonstration, there is a small survey that happens instantly. This way, you can truly turn a demo into a collaborative feedback session.


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